I agree, Rev. I'm a smoker too. I do agree that smoke can be offensive to some (shoulda seen me as a non-smoker!), but I think that legislating against it only causes problems. They are now talking about banning smoking anywhere except your home and your car. Sheesh. Somebody has way too much time on their hands. I can't quite see how my smoking in a public park could possibly bother anyone. I figure there are bigger social issues that could be addressed.
I, too, avoid places that don't provide smokers with a comfortable spot to light up after a meal. I agree with what you said about smokers being a significant part of the supporting patrons, particularly in bars. To me, somebody's screaming baby or ill mannered little kid in a nice restaurant is way more offensive than smoke. But rather than trying to have rugrats banned from nice restaurants, I simply ask to be seated well away from any kids and, if kids bug me, tell their parents to control them. In short, I take care of my own comfort.
I agree with having non-smoking places and non-smoking sections but I think us addicts put enough of our hard-earned cash into the system to be accorded some consideration. Sure, it's bad. Just ask my old doctor. But so what. I figure nobody gets out alive anyway and if I'm not smoking I'm such a b*tch I'm not fit company anyhow.
It's kinda like being forced to wear motorcycle helmets. It used to annoy me in a big way. I carried a DNR on me (there goes the medical cost argument), I learned to ride with sufficient skill to be as safe as one can be and I rode without a helmet whenever I could (or whenever I was in a generally pissed off mood and didn't care if I got caught).
Same with smoking. Sure, it causes health problems but another way to look at it is all those health nuts and non-smokers are going to live longer and put a bigger burden on the health care system than us smokers. At least we kack before we need all that geriatric care!